Connecting to Our Future

A pair of hands touching a globe on a blue background.

Our industry has always been driven by futurists. From the groundbreakers and disruptors who came before us to today’s changemakers and visionaries who motivate us to continue pushing the boundaries, sharing ideas, and accelerating innovation to shape what’s next.

Prognosticating industry advancements 10 years from now, industry veterans discuss the competencies, behaviors, and mindsets we need to develop in our people today to get there.

Teresa Elder

Teresa Elder is a respected connectivity industry leader growing companies into multi-billion dollar enterprises while building strong teams with a passion for innovation and delivering exceptional customer experiences. Teresa consistently ranks on the Cablefax 100 and Most Powerful Women lists, lauded for her work in transforming WOW! and carrying it into its next era.

FROM ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE to ever-smarter devices to virtual reality, the cable industry will continue to be on the leading edge of innovation, transformation, and impact. Broadband networks will be upgraded to deliver dizzying speeds, 10 gigabits and beyond, that will power businesses, schools, hospitals, and our homes. Internet connections will be even more essential to our everyday lives and these connections and the infrastructure it takes to provide them will pump hundreds of billions of dollars into our national and global economies. Making all of this a reality will take an educated, engaged, and entrepreneurial workforce that is agile, diverse, innovative, and resilient.

At WOW!, we have embraced a work environment that allows for flexibility and meets workers where they are and believe this approach is key to attracting and retaining top talent. Continuous two-way communication across the organization and an intentional focus on developing leaders at all levels will ensure strategic creativity and lead-to-the-future employees who can take on new challenges.

Our industry and the creative people in it have transformed our lives and the way we all live, work, and play. The next 10 years will be equally transformative as technologies converge and consumers rely more heavily on the critical products and services our industry provides.

Mark Greatrex
Cox Communications

Mark Greatrex has made an indelible impact on the industry by seizing opportunities for change to build brands and businesses, drive profitable growth, and innovate to reshape markets. Mark was named to the 2022 Cablefax 100, a group of exceptional leaders touted for growing their organizations through change and uncertainty without ever dropping the ball.

FORECASTERS SAY THAT THE DEMAND for internet bandwidth and performance is expected to rise dramatically over the next decade as connectivity becomes even more prevalent in every aspect of our lives. This is a world I’m excited about, and we at Cox will enable real-time, immersive experiences and connect people in meaningful ways.

To bring those connections and experiences to life, we need to make sure we have the right people in the right places. This means we need to provide development opportunities for current employees, retain top talent, and attract future talent. We need strategic workforce planning across divisions. And an essential point: We need a diverse workforce that represents the markets we serve and ensures every employee has equal opportunity to grow and thrive.

We’re living in an interesting time in history, where we’re grateful for the opportunity to reconnect in-person and incorporate all the benefits of flex work. One of the distinct advantages of a hybrid work environment is the ability to reach more people, while the challenge is to nurture our culture and inspire engagement. When we invest in our most important asset, our people, we can be the catalyst that brings real lasting change for our employees, their families, and the communities we serve.

Michael Powell
President and CEO

Michael Powell leads NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, one of the largest trade associations in Washington, D.C., representing the communications and content industries. In his former role as Federal Communications Commission Chairman, he oversaw the rapid transformation of communications markets into the Digital Age.

THE INDUSTRY’S 10G INITIATIVE will change the trajectory of America’s future by enabling the biggest surge in innovation ever seen, opening doors to limitless possibilities, and improving daily life. While the future can be hard to predict, it is in our industry’s DNA to prepare for technologies that don’t yet exist. Providers and networks adopt a future-ready mindset—which will never change—as they invest billions of dollars and plan years in advance to stay ahead of consumer demand by readying their networks to sustain the kinds of applications and services we once only saw in sci-fi movies. This will be made possible thanks to the industry’s efforts in forging critical partnerships and cultivating a workforce that feels engaged, informed, and supported in today’s hybrid work environment, ready to tackle future challenges.

The industry will continue to ramp up efforts over the next 10 years through private investments, public-private partnerships, and leveraging federal funds to ensure every household in America has access to high-speed broadband. The industry’s forward-thinking approach and exemplary commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—within its employee ranks and through its plethora of programs and efforts to reach all Americans—is a leadership model that other sectors should emulate as America strives to achieve digital equity and to meet the ever-increasing needs of consumers.

Leadership development in a hybrid environment is challenging. To remain effective without the consistency of in-office interaction, leaders must commit to the growth of their people and be more intentional about development. At NCTA, we developed a formal professional development program to facilitate continued staff growth, given the challenges of hybrid work models. Additionally, leaders must engage in continuous feedback, and regularly and compassionately attend to their teams’ needs. The optimal culture is one that emphasizes curiosity (endless learning, exploration, and innovation) and compassion (other-centered focus on the human needs of our people).

Christopher Winfrey
President and CEO
Charter Communications

Christopher Winfrey has played a significant role in Charter’s growth and transformation over the last decade. He is valued for innate strategic insight and keen market and industry awareness to drive organizational performance. In 2015, he received The Internet & Television Association’s (NCTA) Vanguard Award for Young Leadership, a nod to the entrepreneurs and innovators that built the industry.

SINCE ITS EARLIEST DAYS, our industry has innovated and reinvented itself—repeatedly—all while powering the country’s technological evolution. From the first broadcast community antenna television system to the explosion of cable channels and the ability to view content from anywhere; from the first always-on Internet connections to the ever-accelerating high-speed broadband on which today’s biggest industries are built; and from our disruption of a century-old, copper-line phone business to redefining mobile and delivering truly converged connectivity, our industry has been at the forefront of change. We have always focused on best serving our customers in their homes, businesses, and now with seamless connectivity, while continuing to innovate and invest to further develop the next generation of connected products and services.

Our advanced, low-latency, high-speed network enables the sci-fi fantasy of yesterday to become today’s reality. We are delivering the most robust converged connectivity services available while continuing to evolve these capabilities. To keep meeting those future needs, we will draw on the decades-long tradition of innovation on which our industry is built. And we do that with our people. We need to attract, retain, and develop the risk-takers, problem-solvers, and visionaries that challenge us, our companies, and the industry to innovate. At Charter, we continue to invest in our employees, providing compensation, benefits, and training that foster long-term careers with the company, all of which leads to a more skilled, empowered, agile, and innovative workforce delivering better products, service, and connected experience for our customers.

As the world evolves faster and faster, our industry needs to stay ahead of that curve providing our employees every opportunity to gain experience, encourage them to think broadly, and empower them to move us all forward.

This article was originally published in the 2023 Second Annual Intrapreneurship & Innovation Report.

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